WordWorks! Tablet App: The Process

Client: Center for the Collaborative Classroom

Category: Educational Publishing

Scope: app design

Project Objectives: The goal of this project was to design a student-facing tablet app to make word practice more fun and engaging. In addition to Being a Reader™ classroom lessons, this app provides students with additional word practice games such as: Build That Word! where players build words using a set of letter tiles, and Sort It Out! that includes both closed and open sorting games.

Illustrations are by Michael Wertz.

word game app screen shown in iPad being held by user

Assumptions and Considerations

Intended for use by Being a Reader K–2 students and teachers. Considerations the team needed to keep in mind:

  • The number of word solutions will differ depending on the week’s lesson.
  • Games should be able to be played by individuals, pairs, or groups.
  • Screen-specific audio help will be provided on every screen so that students don’t need a lot of teacher support.
  • The word sequences needed to mirror the lessons to reinforce the practice.
  • The free app needed to work on Apple iOS and Android tablet devices and display in landscape only.
  • The users in this case basically fell into three categories:
    • Grades K–2 Being a Reader students and their teachers using the games as additional word study practice for weekly lessons
    • Field staff using it as a marketing tool when introducing Being a Reader to potential customers
    • Other users, with documentation about how the learning happens provided in the app so that anyone who downloads it can use and get value out of it.


’Berta’s Role

’Berta worked closely with the team to design the wireframes and conceptualize the play scenarios. She and the team also:

  • chose an illustrator with a fun, engaging style and provided him with the wireframes, which he redrew in his style.
  • iterated the scenes, interactive elements, and functionality to be intuitive for players.
  • tested and retested the releases and gave extensive feedback to the developers.
  • determined the sequence of play, and suggest rewards at the end of completed games.
  • provided all assets to the developer to create the final screens and animations.

’Berta’s Process: Sketches and Wireframes

’Berta created rough wireframes to determine all the game scenarios and elements. This was not a particularly visual team, so it was necessary to provide specific visual examples. The illustrator then took these rough wireframes and sketched in his style—adding his own creative touches and humor.

Home Screen

From the home screen, the player chooses a game type and goes to a selector screen to choose the lesson week. Players can navigate from all screens back to the Home screen via the Home icon.

word game app screen

Build That Word Game Screen—Cargo Ship

  1. Students listen to words being said, then use the tiles to assemble them in the build area.
  2. Once the tiles are all assembled and the game is solved, there is an animated reward.

Open Sort Game Screen

Open-ended sorting games let students organize words by sound, meaning, spelling, or any other attribute.

word game app screen

Final Results and Deliverables

  • This is the first student-facing product for Collaborative Classroom, and will be the litmus test for future product development.
  • This app is closely aligned with, and reinforces, the lesson sequences and pedagogy.
  • The app launched to much anticipation by Being a Reader teachers and field staff, who are excited to show it to their customers.

Check out the app on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

App Game Animation Sequence